Bengaluru, Sept. 14: The Deve Gowda family-run Janata Dal (Secular) has read the riot act to Congress, its bigger alliance partner in the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike council -- the next mayor must be from the JD(S), else the party will pull the rug from under the Congress.
The state president of the JD(S), H.D. Kumaraswamy, on Wednesday demanded that the Congress should not field a candidate for the mayor's post but should support the JD(S) candidate.
The polls to elect the next mayor and deputy mayor is scheduled for September 19.
In 2015, although the BJP had emerged as the single largest party in the BBMP council, with 100 seats, the JD(S), with a paltry 14, and the Congress, with 62 seats, joined hands and managed to keep the BJP out of power in the city, thanks to the very complex arithmetic of the mayoral polls in which MLAs, MLCs and MPs from the state, too, get to vote. The Congress-JD(S) alliance managed to outrun the BJP with 131 votes. JD(S) had then settled for the deputy mayor's post.
On Wednesday, Kumaraswamy made it clear that it was now JD(S)' turn to occupy what's largely a ceremonial post, even if the party has only 14 members in the council. And why not? The party had 16 members in the 544-member Lok Sabha when Deve Gowda became prime minister of the country!
Kumaraswamy, who himself became chief minister of Karnataka in 2006 by breaking the alliance with Congress and joining hands with the BJP, threatened to do the same in the BBMP council if the Congress didn't oblige, adding for good measure that the party will support whichever bigger partner -- Congress or BJP -- that allows it to install its own mayor.